17 Best & Worst Jeep Cherokee Years (With Pictures)

The Jeep Cherokee is an iconic crossover SUV that dates back to as far as the 1990 model year (but took a break from 2002 to 2013). 

Despite its small stature, it has useful towing capacity, a well-controlled ride, and potent off-road capabilities. 

In this article, we’ll be going through all of the best and worst model years of the Cherokee.

2023 Jeep Cherokee

Here’s The Short Answer To What The Best And Worst Years For The Jeep Cherokee Are:

The best Jeep Cherokee model years are 2024, 2023, 2022, 2021, 2020, and 2001. The worst model years of this model are 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, and 2000. This is based on auto industry reviews, NHTSA statistics, reported problems, and consumer feedback.

What Are The Best Years For The Jeep Cherokee?

2024 and 2023 Jeep Cherokee

The 2024 and 2023 Cherokees are the most advanced and sophisticated versions produced so far.

New for these models is a new Altitude Lux trim which is an entry-level trim that is loaded with a ton of interesting features. 

It is the most popular trim and has a starting price of $39,290.

Other than this trim, prospective owners can avail of the higher-end Trailhawk variant (starting price: $42,890).

The former uses a 2.4-liter 4-cylinder engine (180 horsepower, 171 pound-feet of torque) while the latter utilizes a turbocharged 2-liter 4-cylinder engine (270 horsepower, 295 pound-feet of torque). 

Both are fitted with a 9-speed automatic transmission that sends power to all 4 wheels. 

Noteworthy safety features include the following:

  • Uconnect access
  • Trailer sway control
  • Rear cross path detection

Maximum towing capacity is at 2,000 pounds which is quite respectable for a crossover SUV.

This is enough to tow a small utility trailer, a jet ski, or even a small boat. 

2023 Cherokee:

  • Edmunds: 4.3 / 5.0
  • Kelley Blue Book: 3.9 / 5.0
  • J.D. Power: NA

2023 Cherokee, Edmunds Review:

“Attractive small suv, its ergonomics are very good. Seats are comfortable and the arm rest is in the right place to hold the wheel comfortably. The car is much quieter inside than my previous suv. Lots of tech that I’m still getting used to.”

2022 Jeep Cherokee

The 2022 Cherokee offers strong power, a variety of V6 and turbocharged engines, and a great suspension system.

It also comes with a user-friendly 8.4-inch touchscreen infotainment system that is packed with features and benefits that supplement both on-road and off-road adventures.

New for this model year are the following:

  • Revised trim level lineup
  • New midrange X trim
  • 8.4-inch touchscreen infotainment system now standard across all variants

There are 5 trims to choose from: Altitude, Latitude Lux, X, Trailhawk, and Limited.

The entry level Altitude comes with a 2.4-liter 4-cylinder engine (180 horsepower).

The Latitude Lux has a standard 3.2-liter V6 engine (271 horsepower, 239 pound-feet of torque) but can also be fitted with an optional turbocharged 2-liter 4-cylinder engine (270 horsepower, 295 pound-feet of torque).

The X and Trailhawk come exclusively with the previously mentioned 3.2-liter V6 engine while the range-topping Limited trim can have either the 3.2-liter V6 or the turbocharged 2-liter engine. 

This model’s technology stands out among other aspects, thanks to standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration, an easy-to-use infotainment system, an upgraded audio system, and multiple USB ports for charging various devices. 

According to owners, this model is respected for its minimal road noise, value for money, and decent acceleration. 

  • Edmunds: 4.3 / 5.0
  • Kelley Blue Book: 3.9 / 5.0
  • J.D. Power: NA

2022 Cherokee, Edmunds Review:

“This is my second Jeep Cherokee. I am totally blown away with this SUV. I love the color, the interior, the v6, the features, I could go on and on. I previously had a 4 cylinder and thought that it was way underpowered. I recommend everyone I know to test drive a Jeep Cherokee, they will be hooked as I am.”

2022 Jeep Cherokee

2021 Jeep Cherokee

The 2021 Cherokee is a second-gen model that has a variety of great technology features, a respectable list of safety and driver assistance tech, and a user-friendly touchscreen infotainment system.

New for this model are added standard safety features, additional comfort and convenience tech, a new Latitude Lux trim, and an 80th Anniversary variant.

There are 5 main trims: Latitude, Latitude Plus, Latitude Lux, Trailhawk, and Limited.

Despite being a new entrant this year, we find the midrange Latitude Lux trim to be the best balance of style, comfort, performance, and cost.

It features either a 3.2-liter V6 engine (271 horsepower and 239 pound-feet of torque) or an optional turbocharged 2-liter 4-cylinder engine (270 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque), leather upholstery, and a power-adjustable front passenger seat.

The best features of this SUV, according to owners, are the following: appearance, interior, ride quality, engine performance, handling, steering, minimal road noise, and acceleration. 

  • Edmunds: 4.2 / 5.0
  • Kelley Blue Book: 3.9 / 5.0
  • J.D. Power: 80 / 100

2021 Cherokee, Edmunds Review:

“Update: After 30,000 miles, I haven’t had any issues with the Cherokee besides the sluggish downshifting that is well-known on the 9-speed. Putting it into Sport mode eliminates the issue, but sometimes you need speed quickly, and the delay can be frustrating. Other than that, there has been few complaints, and I still love how it handles on and off road…”

2020 Jeep Cherokee

The 2020 Cherokee, despite having no significant upgrades, is remarkably better than any of its predecessors (discussed in the following section) because of a greater degree of reliability and consistency in performance.

There are 5 available trim levels: Latitude, Latitude Plus, Limited, Trailhawk, and Overland.

The standard engine for the entire lineup is a 2.4-liter 4-cylinder engine that is rated at 180 horsepower and 171 pound-feet of torque.

Optional engine options are as follows:

  • 3.2-liter V6 (271 horsepower, 239 pound-feet of torque)
  • 2-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder (270 horsepower, 295 pound-feet of torque)

Regardless, owners will be getting a 9-speed automatic transmission that sends power to either all wheels or the front wheels (the Trailhawk variant, however, is only limited to the all-wheel-drive).

  • Edmunds: 4.2 / 5.0
  • Kelley Blue Book: 3.9 / 5.0
  • J.D. Power: 82 / 100

2020 Cherokee, Edmunds Review:

“My 2020 Jeep Latitude Plus 4WD 4 cylinder is one of the best vehicles in over 40 years of driving. I rate 5 stars for the safety features, comfort, interior (cold weather package) and smooth drive. The stability on highways and city seems like a ride in the cloud. Also impressed with the turns, engine’s horsepower transfer to wheels and Jeep warning devices…”

2020 Jeep Cherokee

2001 Jeep Cherokee

The 2011 Cherokee is the final first-gen version and marks the beginning of a long break for the nameplate (that was eventually resumed in 2014). 

Much like the previously discussed 2020 Cherokee, the 2001 model year marks the end of a long line of poor model years thanks to better reliability and manufacturing quality.

It is available in 4 trim levels: SE, Sport, Classic, and Limited.

According to the EPA, the entry-level SE and Sport trims can achieve 18 MPG for combined city and highway driving while the Classic and Limited can only reach around 16 MPG under the same conditions.

  • Edmunds: 4.4 / 5.0
  • Kelley Blue Book: 4.6 / 5.0
  • J.D. Power: NA

2001 Cherokee, Edmunds Review:

“When I ran into this car on a lot with 140k on the counter, I had no hesitation. I know several people sitting at well over 300k still driving them daily, and they are not the most maintenance minded people in the world. I bought my jeep as a car to park at the airport every week when I travel for work, but have quickly found myself driving it more than my brand new silverado or my wife’s Lexus…”

Consumer Scores For Best Jeep Cherokee Years

Model YearEdmunds
Consumer Rating
Kelley Blue Book
Consumer Rating
J.D. Power
Consumer Rating
2024 Jeep Cherokee
2023 Jeep Cherokee4.3 / 5.03.9 / 5.0NA
2022 Jeep Cherokee4.3 / 5.03.9 / 5.0NA
2021 Jeep Cherokee4.2 / 5.03.9 / 5.080 / 100
2020 Jeep Cherokee4.2 / 5.03.9 / 5.082 / 100
2001 Jeep Cherokee4.4 / 5.04.6 / 5.0NA

Related: 11 Jeep Cherokee Facts & Statistics You Should Know

What Are The Worst Years For The Jeep Cherokee?

2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, and 2019 Jeep Cherokee

The 2014 to 2019 Cherokee, which marked the return of the nameplate (as well as the start of the second generation), were vastly unsuccessful from a reliability standpoint.

All of these model years were heavily criticized. In fact, CarComplaints.com labeled these as both “Avoid Like the Plague” and “Beware of the Clunker.”

We completely agree with all assessments online. Definitely avoid any of these model years at all costs. 

According to thousands of reports, the most prevalent issue was rough or delayed shifting, vehicle stalling, and transmission failure

This was allegedly caused by a defective power transfer unit (PTU) which is in charge of engaging the engine and transmission to coordinate with the 4-wheel-drive system.

Recall campaigns were initiated but a lot of owners were left to wait for extremely long periods of time due to parts unavailability. 

“My Jeep Cherokee has been diagnosed by a mechanic using stellantis software for having issues with the ptu (power transfer unit) , requiring replacement of the entire unit. When this fails, it can result in complete power loss to the entire vehicle while driving, a huge safety concern for anyone driving this vehicle…” – CarProblemZoo.com

If your vehicle displays a check engine warning light, a “service shifter” indicator, a service transmission message, or a combination of any of these 3, then you are most likely dealing with power transfer unit (PTU) issues. 

  • The 2014 Cherokee had a total of 733 complaints on CarComplaints.com and 3,636 problems based on CarProblemZoo.com data.
  • The 2015 Cherokee had a total of 713 complaints on CarComplaints.com and 2,405 problems based on CarProblemZoo.com data.
  • The 2016 Cherokee had a total of 259 complaints on CarComplaints.com and 1,617 problems based on CarProblemZoo.com data.
  • The 2017 Cherokee had a total of 127 complaints on CarComplaints.com and 1,454 problems based on CarProblemZoo.com data.
  • The 2018 Cherokee had a total of 32 complaints on CarComplaints.com and 717 problems based on CarProblemZoo.com data.
  • The 2019 Cherokee had a total of 142 complaints on CarComplaints.com and 1,324 problems based on CarProblemZoo.com data.

Other common problems:

  • Transmission died
  • Loses power while driving
  • Shifts roughly
  • Delayed shifting during acceleration
  • Check engine light on
  • Service transmission message
  • Water leaking into cabin
  • Excessive oil consumption
  • Irregular shifting
  • Engine will not turn over
  • Engine shuts down while driving
  • Service shifter light on
  • Went into parking assist mode while driving
  • Inconsistent oil consumption
  • Shifts hard
2019 Jeep Cherokee

1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, and 2000 Jeep Cherokee

The 1996 to 2000 Cherokee models were not as problematic as the previously discussed batch of models but are considered to be quite bad due to various brake-related issues.

Owners reported a grinding noise when using the brakes, followed up quickly by the vehicle shaking, rattling, or lurching forward.

These issues were mainly caused by severe internal rusting and corrosion in the front disc brake rotors, amplifying premature wear and tear. 

Recall campaigns were initiated but not all owners’ issues were resolved in a timely manner (with some not even being part of any recall whatsoever). 

“Front brakes are very corroded. There was a recall on the vehicle, but the consumer was not part of the recall. There was a loud screeching noise on the front left wheel, but stopped when brakes were depressed.” – CarProblemZoo.com

A variety of fuel-related issues were also reported. The most common of which are the following:

  • Inaccurate fuel gauge
  • Plastic gas tank warping
  • Fuel leakage
  • Vehicle stalling when gas is below a certain level

“Fuel tank indicator is giving false readings. The vehicle appeared to be stalling, it was refueled and was given no diagnosis at the gas station. The vehicle stopped responding to the pressing of the gas pedal for an unknown reason, the vehicle was refueled but was still given no diagnosis. The vehicle stopped again without warning in the middle of the street, obtained emergency fuel, then it was obvious that there was a fuel problem…” – CarProblemZoo.com

Owners also complained about an intermittently flashing airbag warning indicator. Recalls were initiated to address this specific issue.

“While driving, the air bag light illuminated on the dashboard, once the air bag light illuminates other lights will illuminate and then blink on and off, the consumer took vehicle to the dealer. Consumer is requesting reimbursement for the air bag, due to discovering that there is a recall on the air bag sensor…” – CarProblemZoo.com

  • The 1996 Cherokee had a total of 10 complaints on CarComplaints.com and 582 problems based on CarProblemZoo.com data.
  • The 1997 Cherokee had a total of 23 complaints on CarComplaints.com and 501 problems based on CarProblemZoo.com data.
  • The 1998 Cherokee had a total of 18 complaints on CarComplaints.com and 553 problems based on CarProblemZoo.com data.
  • The 1999 Cherokee had a total of 17 complaints on CarComplaints.com and 515 problems based on CarProblemZoo.com data.
  • The 2000 Cherokee had a total of 14 complaints on CarComplaints.com and 507 problems based on CarProblemZoo.com data.

Other common problems:

  • Vehicle wobbling
  • Black smoke in exhaust
  • Leaky fuel tubes near the tank
  • Air conditioning failure
  • Jerks when accelerating
  • Water pump failed
  • Dashboard gauges fail intermittently
  • Steering failure
  • Car stalls while driving
  • Brakes make clunking noise when stopping
  • Blown head gasket
1997 Jeep Cherokee

Related: Where Are Jeep Cherokees Made? (Solved & Explained)

What Years Have The Most Complaints?

Model YearComplaints
2024 Jeep Cherokee
2023 Jeep Cherokee000
2022 Jeep Cherokee0180
2021 Jeep Cherokee5692
2020 Jeep Cherokee161172
2019 Jeep Cherokee1421,3249
2018 Jeep Cherokee327176
2017 Jeep Cherokee1271,4544
2016 Jeep Cherokee2591,6179
2015 Jeep Cherokee7132,40510
2014 Jeep Cherokee7333,53513
2001 Jeep Cherokee143258
2000 Jeep Cherokee145077
1999 Jeep Cherokee175158
1998 Jeep Cherokee1855311
1997 Jeep Cherokee2350110
1996 Jeep Cherokee1058210

What Problems Do Jeep Cherokee Have?

  • Transmission died
  • Loses power while driving
  • Delayed shifting during acceleration
  • Shifts roughly
  • Check engine light on
  • Service transmission message
  • Water leaking into cabin
  • Excessive oil consumption
  • Irregular shifting
  • Engine will not turn over
  • Inconsistent oil consumption
  • Shifts hard

What Are The Best Alternatives To The Jeep Cherokee?

Make & ModelScoreMSRPFuel Economy (MPG)
Toyota RAV47.8$28,475 – $38,180City: NA /Highway: NA
Honda CR-V7.8$29,500 – $36,160City: 27 – 28 /Highway: 32 – 34 
Buick Envista7.7$22,400 – $28,600City: NA /Highway: NA
Ford Escape7.7$29,345 – $36,965City: 23 – 42 /Highway: 31 – 36
Jeep Cherokee7.7$37,695 – $41,295City: 20 – 21 /Highway: 26 – 29
Mitsubishi Outlander7.6$28,395 – $40,845City: 24 /Highway: 30 – 31
Jeep Wrangler7.5$31,895 – $87,595City: 13 – 20 /Highway: 16 – 25
Chevrolet Equinox7.4$26,600 -$33,400City: 24 – 26 /Highway: 30 – 31
Jeep Compass7.3$29,995 – $35,745City: 24 /Highway: 32
GMC Terrain7.2$29,900 – $38,600City: 24 /Highway: 28 – 29
Dodge Hornet6.9$30,735 – $35,735City: 21 /Highway: 29
Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross6.9$25,795 – $29,495City: 25 /Highway: 26 – 28

Source: cars.usnews.com, edmunds.com

Related: Jeep Cherokee Alarm Going Off? (10 Causes & Solutions)












  • Ian Sawyer

    Growing up with a father who was a mechanic I had an appreciation for cars and motorcycles from an early age. I shared my first bike with my brother that had little more than a 40cc engine but it opened up a world of excitement for me, I was hooked. As I grew older I progressed onto bigger bikes and...

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